Episode 55 - Nolan Smith: Become A Student Of The Game

Photo by: @SuperDuperMaxx

Photo by: @SuperDuperMaxx

It wasn’t long ago that Nolan dreamed of one day becoming a music manager. Knowing that it wouldn’t just happen, he became a student of the game. Whether it be reading books, skimming blogs, going to spots on Fairfax in LA where industry people would hang out or even hitting up local shows, he started putting himself into the environments where these people would be.

As of today he is the manager behind successful hip-hop artist, ‘KYLE’ whose recent hit single  'iSpy ft Lil Yachty’ went 3x Platinum.

Nolan grew up in Ventura, CA, a city where everyone knew each other and their families. His parents are the reason he is who he is today as his mother’s ability to light up a room full of people and his father’s strong work ethic have both become major strengths of his. Soon after high school when he realized he wanted to become a music manager he used his blog “Ventura’s Finest” platform to begin hosting shows and help him make these small but forward moving steps into the industry. He had established a relationship with KYLE and it was on New Year's day of  2012 that Nolan told himself he was going to stay committed to this artist because he genuinely believed he had what it took to be a superstar.

Over the past six years leading up to his huge single, it hadn’t been just one specific show, festival, tour, project or single that lead KYLE and the Super Duper crew to success but it was all the small victories and the entirety of the journey that had prepared them for that moment.

In this episode Nolan discusses being a pizza delivery man and why he enjoyed it, going all in mentally and seeing the bigger picture, never being afraid to ask questions, being surrounded by passionate people is contagious and inspiring for others, the foundation of building a brand, there is always a devil on our shoulder telling us to wait on starting something today, we cannot control wins or losses but we can control the work we put in, encouraging the people around us to become great and holding high expectations for them and finding that thing that makes life worth living.

One of the main takeaways from this episode is being a student of the game with your passion. If you were to ask the ones who’re truly great at what they do how they actually got there… it was their ability to go all in on their craft. It could be from reading books, listening to podcasts, going out there and getting their hands dirty, asking questions or observing the ones who’re actually making things happen. They soaked in as much knowledge as they possibly could. The more time you put into something, the more you’ll get out of it.

Podcast Outline (Time Markers For Audio Version) 

ho is Nolan Smith today?

    • 28 years young, manager to hip-hop artist Super Duper Kyle

  • Grew up in Ventura, California

    • Big enough city that things were exciting. Everyone knows each other and each other's families.

    • Beach town that is one of the most desirable places to live in the world

  • Nolan’s parents are the reason he is where he is today (7:14)

    • Two very different people that work well together and balance each other out

    • Mother lights up the room when around people and father is hardworking and very consistent, both of which Nolan finds in himself

    • Learned to be very direct with people when communicating and to not “beat around the bush” (12:10)

  • Being a pizza delivery guy was one of the best jobs he had while growing up

    • Loved being able to drive around by himself and listen to music. Would burn mixtapes to his CD and drive around bumping them in the same day. (17:20)

  • Soon after high school he realized he wanted to be a music manager (19:10)

    • Got very invested into blogs, artists, music managers and anyone that was involved in the scene

    • One of his biggest inspirations was Scooter Braun, music manager to artists Ariana Grande, Justin Bieber and more

    • Surrounding Ourselves With Like Minded People Will Help Us Find Our Place (22:25)  

  • Knew what he wanted so he started inserting himself into the environments where industry people were

    • Started networking with Pac Div, interned for them and eventually went on the road  

    • Came back and began focus on building KYLE who was K.I.D Cash at the time (28:10)

  • Had a blog, ‘Ventura’s Finest’ that was focused on local talent of his city and began throwing parties/shows

    • Convinced a local bar to let him host a show, sold it out with 250-300 people and KYLE headlined

    • This was when their relationship started, unknown of what the next couple years would bring

  • Texted KYLE while on “Blue Slide Park Tour” with Mac Miller saying he wanted to be his manager

    • January 1, 2012 they released a record and Nolan told himself he was going to stay committed to KYLE to see where this could go

    • As Soon As We Become All In Mentally, We’re Able To See The Bigger Picture (32:30)

    • Being A Student Of The Game And Soaking In As Much Knowledge As Possible (34:35)

    • Was never afraid to ask questions

  • Finding your passion is important (38:48)

    • When people are passionate about things and love what they do it’s contagious and inspiring

    • We can’t tell people what they should do it has to come from within

  • The foundation of a building a brand (43:38)

    • Packaging the “product” correctly and having it make sense for how people should perceive it

    • Is it inspiring? Showcasing what you own? Is it supposed to be funny? Etc

  • There is always going to the a devil on our shoulder about why we shouldn’t start today and should wait till tomorrow

  • With the success KYLE has had it doesn’t connect to one single, festival, tour or show but it has been the entire journey (50:00)

    • The prior 6 years leading up to his 3 x platinum record “I Spy” was the groundwork of the Super Duper Crew getting ready for that big moment

    • It’s really about the small victories along the journey that make the chase of the end goal worth the ride

    • We Can’t Control Wins Or Losses, We Can Only Control The Work We Put In (53:37)

  • Speaking things into existence and positive affirmations

    • The more specific we can get with our goals the better, it holds us accountable to reaching them

    • ** BREAK (58:06)**

    • Encouraging the people around us to be great and having high expectations for them

    • There's no better people to win/lose with than your actual friends

    • Business and emotions never mix well

  • If Nolan was to write a book today, he would title it “Student Of The Game” (67:10)

    • In order to succeed in any industry you have to be a student of it willing to learn. The people who’re successful are big time students of the game

    • Soon enough he plans to turn this into a podcast concept

  • Ask Bobbbaaaay 1 question

    • If you weren’t doing the podcast, what would you do?

    • Having something you’re passionate about to work on is what makes life worth living (74:25)

  • Picture frame on the wall 10 years from now, what/who else do we see in the picture frame?

    • Surrounded by the Super Duper crew

    • ** CUT 76:30 **

  • Find Nolan Smith on social media

    • Instagram/Twitter: @Nolan_Smith

    • Send him a text: 1-805-856-6456

  • 2-3 pieces of advice for someone trying to find their passion/purpose (80:15)

    • Be autonomous, move around and meet people

    • Be a student of the game and learn a little about a lot until you find that thing

    • What’re you gravitating towards naturally that you enjoy

    • Keep your eyes open to what is going on around you and believe that you’ll find it